Immediate walk-in assistance at the Northern Service Center lobby is limited, but some in-person services are available by appointment for those who have no other options to apply for public assistance benefits. Please contact your worker directly or call 651-554-5611 to reach our office as needed.
For all other public assistance questions or needs, we are serving our customers over the phone, postal mail and online due to precautions related to COVID-19. Please contact your worker directly or call 651-554-5611.
Applications for cash, food, and emergency program benefits and renewals can be submitted online at:
You can also access applications, renewals and verification forms online at:
Paper applications are available for no-contact pick-up or drop-off.
- Northern Service Center, 1 Mendota Road W., West St Paul, MN 55118
- Forms can be picked up or dropped off between the hours of 8 a.m.– 4 p.m. There is a drop box located outside the front entrance of the building.
- Forms can also be submitted electronically:
Applications for health care program benefits can submitted on the
MNsure website. METS (County administered MNsure) can be submitted by email to
If none of these resources work for you, call 651-554-5611 to schedule an over-the-phone or in-person application appointment.
If you are unemployed, you may be eligible for the
Minnesota Unemployment Insurance Program. Unemployment benefits are administered by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED). Offices are not located within Dakota County buildings. For more information regarding unemployment benefits, visit
www.uimn.org or call 651-296-3644.
Dakota County is also accepting applications to our
Dislocated Worker Programs.
Child Care Assistance Program
Dakota County administers the Child Care Assistance Program that helps low-income families pay for child care, so they can work, job search, or attend school while moving towards self-sufficiency. Dakota County helps pay for children through age 12 and for children with special needs up to age 14.
Learn about the available programs.
Policies for the Child Care Assistance Program are available in the
Child Care Fund Plan.
Child care waiting lists
When there is not enough money available to help all families asking for child care aid and the family does not qualify for the Minnesota Family Investment Program/Diversionary Work Program, the county keeps a list of those waiting for help through the Basic Sliding Fee Child Care Program.
To be added to the child care waiting list or get more information on how to apply for child care, call 651-554-5611 and ask to speak with the Cash I&R worker.
If your name is on the waiting list, this does not guarantee eligibility or funding for child care.
Finding a provider
Providers must register with Dakota County before they receive payment from the county for child care. The county will send the parents a Service Authorization form. The parents must sign the form and bring it to the provider. This form approves the parent for county aid. The provider then sends the form to the County, who issues a statement explaining when child care assistance payments can begin and the number of hours that can be paid through assistance.
The form requests the provider to state current rates. The county can pay up to the
standard maximum reimbursement rates. If the provider’s rates are higher than the county's maximum rate, the parent pays the difference.
Parents can choose the type of child care they want to use, including day care center, licensed home child care providers or legally unlicensed child care providers. All legally unlicensed providers must provide the following information to the county. A letter from the county will explain the process to authorize legally unlicensed providers:
- Copy of birth certificate or driver's license to verify age.
- Signed statement that they are aware of the potential liability.
- W-9 form to comply with the Internal Revenue Service income reporting requirements.
- Providers must sign a release form to allow a background check to be completed by the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension and Dakota County Social Services.
After authorization, legally unlicensed providers need to retain records of payment for at least three years for audit purposes.